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Darkling Spy, The Paperback – 19 May 2011

4 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Arcadia Books; Arcadia Books edition (19 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906413878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906413873
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

IT'S ON A PAR WITH JOHN LE CARRÉ....IT S THAT GOOD ... As a novel this has a wonderful feel the taste, the texture and the smell of authenticity. --Tribune

The glory days of the Cold War are evoked in The Darkling Spy by Edward Wilson, who boldly ventures into the territory so well trodden by John le Carré. The professionalism of the novel, so rich in detailed perspectives, it's characters so sturdily grounded, enables it to outgrow the spy-thrillers more wearisome conventions, while delivering strong emotional charges. --Times Literary Supplement

A thriller of page-turning brilliance --I Love a Mystery

About the Author

Edward Wilson served in Vietnam as an officer in the 5th Special Forces. His decorations include the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for Valor. Soon after leaving the army, Wilson became a permanent expatriate and he formally lost US nationality in 1986 to become British. For the past thirty years he has been a teacher in Suffolk, where he lives. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An engrossing and intelligent Cold War thriller. Mr Wilson catches post-war Britain very well. The denouement is a little less than satisfactory though. I feel he handles character better than action.
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Format: Paperback
1956. British spies Burgess and Maclean have defected to Russia leaving relations strained between the U.S. and Britain. Other "Cambridge" spies are suspected to still be at large. Who is "The Darkling Spy"? This is never quite answered, it is after all the Cold War.

Disinformation and double bluff are the rule of the day and practised by all Intelligence Services, East and West. "You were never certain if you were among those who would sheild you or those who would betray you." These are the thoughts of the novel's hero, Lowestoft born William Catesby, Intelligence Officer, SIS (known now as MI6). Catesby is sent on a mission by his enigmatic patron, superior SIS officer and Director Henry Bone. Catesby's brief is to track down dangerous agent provocateur "Butterfly" who works in the Eastern bloc. Britain's future relations with America are at stake as Butterfly has damaging information about other Cambridge spies. Catesby and Bone are on the same wavelength although Catesby is always a few steps behind, "he realised that he didn't know him (Bone) at all." As Catesby gleans snippets of information about "angel-faced" but devil hearted Rudolf Ralswiek, Butterfly, the reader is not left in the dark for long because Wilson regularly intersperses the action with dialogue between Bone and Catesby which helps slot the pieces together.

Edward Wilson as in "The Envoy" evokes 1950's London at the centre of power but also portrays its precarous position as Catesby ponders Britain's potential destruction in an East West nuclear holocaust, "the Thames will vanish in a hiss of steam like spilt water on a hot stove". Catesby is promoted to Head of Eastern Europe Section and his advice is now sought by the powers that be.
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Format: Paperback
A graphic portrayal of the world of the Cold War spy in which the only certainty is that no-one can be trusted, least of all your own side.
Gripping read.
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Format: Paperback
And that title is an example of the kind of stylistic tic that affects Mr Wilson. "Why does", I wonder, "He write in that bizarre way?"

A shame, because there's a lot of interesting stuff in this book, particularly in the awkward Catesby-Bone relationship. But in the end the narrative line suffers from complexity-for-the-sake-of-complexity, and a lack of focus. I hope Mr Wilson writes another book, because there's real potential here.
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By Terry D TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I reviewed The Midnight Swimmer last month I commented that, as a Cold War spy thriller, it was in the same class as anything written by either John LeCarre or Len Deighton. 'The Darkling Spy' involves the same main characters whilst the story line predates 'The Midnight Swimmer' by a few years.

I had been amused by Edward Wilson's somewhat peculiar comment at the very back of 'The Midnight Swimmer' that 'This is a work of fiction. When I have used official titles and positions, I do not suggest that the persons who held those positions in the past are the same persons portrayed in a novel or that they have spoken, thought or behaved in the way I have imagined.' This disclaimer also appears at the back of 'The Darkling Spy'.

In reviewing 'The Midnight Swimmer' I'd established that the thriller's Jim Angleton had the same bombastic and unpleasant personality traits as a certain James Jesus Angleton who, in real life and from 1954 to 1975, held the extremely influential position of Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence. This period, of course, spans the timeline of both thrillers.

The reappearance of Jim Angleton, still CIA's Head of Counterintelligence, in 'The Darkling Spy' suggested it would be an interesting exercise to check whether any of Mr Wilson's other 'fictitious' characters had actually existed during the Cold War period.

It quickly became apparent that 'The Darkling Spy' skilfully involves a number of individuals who, in real life, had shaped the history of that period and whose doppelgänger equivalents play important roles in the thriller.
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Format: Paperback
Edward Wilson brilliantly creates a wonderfully tense and complex atmosphere in this spy novel. The prose is taut, the dialogue good and the story keeps you gripped. Of course, the plot is as convoluted as you would expect from this type of spy novel and you are never certain who you can trust. I really enjoyed it. It is perhaps not quite as good as Le Carre at his best but it is, nonetheless, very very readable if you like "old fashioned" spy novels.

I wonder also if the unnamed "art historian friend" who plays a small, but important role in the story, is meant to be Anthony Blunt.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For me, this was a most enjoyable read. Edward Wilson manages to capture the drabness and depression of post-war Europe, particularly in those countries under brutal Communist rule. The book reminds us of the tragic events in Hungary when Russian tanks destroyed the hopes and aspirations of the Hungarian opposition, and how our secret services really were secret - that is, until the Cambridge spies were revealed. The story provides sufficient excitement to keep the reader turning the pages, but it is peopled with characters that are all flawed in one way or another. One is left with feeling that it would interesting to know something of their later lives.

Thoroughly recommended.
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